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Financial Risk and Management Reviews

March 2019, Volume 5, 1, pp 25-39

External Debt and Nigeria's Sovereignty

Umar Dantani

Umar Dantani 1

  1. Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, PMB 2346, Sokoto, Nigeria 1

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Pages: 25-39

DOI: 10.18488/journal.89.2019.51.25.39

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Article History:

Received: 09 January, 2019
Revised: 26 February, 2019
Accepted: 02 April, 2019
Published: 20 May, 2019


This paper examines external debt and Nigeria’s sovereignty. The methodology of this research is based on content and qualitative analyses. The paper argues that external debt influences the sovereignty of Nigeria in different ways. These include the imposition of adjustment programmes ie privatization, devaluation, deregulation and trade liberalization. These programmes have subjected Nigeria to political control by the international financial institutions and affected Nigeria’s sovereignty vis-à-vis the place of the country in the comity of nations. The paper also argues that the imposition of adjustment programmes on the country provides opportunity to the IMF and the World Bank to monitor the implementation of the programmes that infringe on the sovereign right of the country. Furthermore, the paper believes that the imposition of high debt burden on the country infringes on the sovereign power of Nigeria to perform its human rights obligations towards its citizens. Moreover, this research argues that the introduction of debt rescheduling i.e. debt-equity swaps by the creditor countries give them the opportunity to determine how resources from the debt-equity swaps should be invested in the country. Therefore, the paper concludes that for Nigeria to utilize its sovereign power within the comity of nations it ought to have deimplemented adjustment programmes that are agents of imperialist control.
Contribution/ Originality
This study contributes to the existing literature on external debt and sovereignty. This study is one of few studies which have investigated the implementation of SAPs in Nigeria. The paper contributes to the first logical analysis of debt overhang and debt burden. The paper’s primary contribution is finding that external debt subjects Nigeria to political control. This study documents for proper management of external debt.


External debt, Sovereignty, Adjustment programmes and, IMF and World Bank.




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This study received no specific financial support.

Competing Interests:

The author declares that there are no conflicts of interests regarding the publication of this paper.


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